Cambridge: Life Through A Lens

16 July 2012, 06:00 | Updated: 17 July 2012, 13:15

Young Travellers in Cambridge have spent the past 20 weeks completing a photography course to try to break down stereotypes surrounding the Gypsy and Traveller community.

The photographic course at the Cambridge Regional College has been financed and supported by the Ormiston Children & Families Trust with photographer Julia C Johnson taking on the role of course leader.

Geoff Prescott, CEO of Ormiston Children & Families Trust said: "The Travelling Community is one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Cambridgeshire. Within communities like this, young people currently live with more stigmatisation and racial hatred than ever before. We know because we’ve been working with them for over 30 years.

"We offered the travelling community youth in Cambridgeshire the opportunity to create and share inspiring facets of their lives and culture with the wider community. Fifteen young Travellers aged 12 - 21 grabbed this opportunity, literally, with both hands."

Applicants from sites around Cambridge committed to a 20 week photography course at their local college.

Julia Johnson, course leader, said: "They were fantastic. Inspirational. Throughout the course, the young people’s self esteem increased as did their confidence, their aspirations for their future, employment prospects and their opportunity to enter higher education. In fact, several are applying for courses at the College now."

Each student will receive the equivalent of a GCSE for their work.

Billy, a 17-year-old Traveller who completed the course said: "This course has helped me make new friends and meet new and fascinating people. It’s helped me better myself. It’s given me a whole lot more confidence and it’s shown me that the non Traveller community do not all hate us."